Water Institute seed grant recipients announced

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Water Institute seed grants with seedlings in background

Last week, the Water Institute announced the results of their seed grant program. Prof. Sherry Schiff from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is leading one of the projects which will build a network to examine methane emissions. Several scientists from the Departments of Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences are part of the other funded interdisciplinary projects focused on forest ecosystems and managing watersheds.

Initiated in 2014, the seed grant program aims to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration, international partnerships and encourage the development of research proposals that tackle increasingly complex global water issues.

This year’s seed grant projects include a diverse selection of inspiring and exciting initiatives:

Building an interdisciplinary collaborative network for exploring global methane emission dynamics

Sherry Schiff (Earth and Environmental Sciences); Tonya DelSontro and Fereidoun Rezanezhad (Earth and Environmental Sciences); Laura Hug and Josh Neufeld (Biology); Maria Strack, (Environment), Monica Emelko (Engineering)

As the concentration of atmospheric methane increases yearly, and the rate of its accumulation accelerates, heightened international attention on this potent greenhouse gas underlines the importance of coordinating research capacity at the University of Waterloo. This seed grant will be used to organize a networking workshop with the intention of consolidating the collaborative expertise of Water Institute researchers and developing a Waterloo-led network on methane dynamics that will formulate strategies and identify opportunities for capturing growing national and international funding.

Initiating the Canadian Tree Talker Network

Richard Petrone (Environment); Myroslava Khomik (Environment); Julie Messier (Biology); Andrew Trant (Environment); Michael Pisaric (Brock University); Riccardo Valentini (University of Tuscia)

With the seed grant, the team will position Canada as a hub for North American participation in the Global Tree Talker Network which currently includes members from Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. The goal of the Global Tree Talker Network is to utilize novel instrumentation to study communities of trees in different climatic environments and disturbance regimes to improve our understanding of forest ecosystems within the global hydrological cycle. The seed grant will be used to instrument a few test-pilot sites in Canada to test the applicability of the new instruments across Canada and recruit additional participants. Additionally, workshops will be organized where potential Canadian and international network collaborators will develop a scientific strategy and external grant proposals.

Advanced datasets and methods for managing Ontario Conservation Authority watersheds

Bryan Tolson (Engineering); Nandita Basu, (Engineering/Earth and Environmental Sciences); Jason Thistlethwaite (Environment); Daniel Henstra (Arts); James Craig and Juliane Mai (Engineering)

This seed grant will be used to promote collaboration between Water Institute researchers, Conservation Authorities and provincial officials interested in surface water management. Specifically, a workshop will be organized to showcase novel University of Waterloo datasets, models and research expertise available for informing the state‐of-art practice and joint proposals.

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